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Get to know Boxing Day

Many people may get their fill of boxes on Christmas Day. However, people living in certain countries, including Canada, know that there may be some more boxes in store on the day after Christmas as well.

Boxing Day is an annual holiday celebrated in Canada on December 26. Canadians are not alone in celebrating Boxing Day, which is observed in Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, among other countries.

The origin story behind Boxing Day is not entirely known. One theory regarding those origins connect the holiday to 19th century England and the giving of boxes that included money, presents and/or food to British servants on the day after Christmas. The servants had to work on Christmas while their employers celebrated, so they waited until the following day to celebrate with their families. The boxes were a token of appreciation and a way to make servants’ celebrations more bountiful and enjoyable.

Another theory links Boxing Day to collection boxes for the poor. Long known as a time of giving, the holiday season was a time to give to the poor. So when the boxes were opened on the day after Christmas, they were full and the money within them was then distributed to the less fortunate.

Modern Boxing Day celebrations don’t resemble either theory of the day’s origins. In fact, modern Boxing Day more closely resembles Black Friday, a retail holiday in the United States that marks the unofficial beginning of the holiday shopping season. Retailers discount items on Boxing Day, and the deals compel people across Canada to spend the day after Christmas shopping.

Canadian soccer fans who are not excited by the idea of shopping on Boxing Day can celebrate like many of their British counterparts. In England, Boxing Day has become synonymous with European football, and the Premier League has ensured its fans can spend a good portion of Boxing Day watching the action on the pitch. This year’s Boxing Day slate includes 10 matches.

Boxing Day may not have maintained too significant a connection to its past. But the day remains one to look forward to in 2021.

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